Monday, June 01, 2009
The preacher’s primary task is not to tell people what to do. It is to proclaim good news.Sounds amazingly, well...Evangelical!
To be effective, therefore, preaching must be in the indicative mood, not in the imperative.
Those who come to Mass on Sunday need reassurance—more than exhortations to be good—that God continues to love them despite their failures.
“Preaching is communication of Jesus Christ himself,” Fr. Alvin Kimel writes.
Our goal should be preaching that causes our hearers to say, with Cleopas and his unnamed companion (perhaps his wife) on the first Easter evening: “Did we not feel our hearts on fire as he talked with us . . . and explained the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
I find that so often, this kind of morality preaching comes from preachers that are concerned that if they don't preach it, the congregation will never hear it. They feel this way, of course, because so little of the congregation shows up for other than worship service. Which could be a result of, oh I don't know, preaching that fails to bring them the real Jesus whose Spirit would motivate them to show up to something like Sunday school. Just guessing here.
There is a vast need for in depth ethical and moral instruction in the church - a vast need. But the pulpit is no place for it.
I know that in my life I am looking for the preacher that drives me deeper. Actually, scratch that - for the preacher that calls me to Jesus Christ who drives me deeper. I think if you are to be a preacher, that is the kind to be.
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